It may be very early in the season, but it's not too early to foresee painful calls that will have to be made in Boston, Chicago and Tampa Bay regarding what should be done about David Ortiz(below), Alfonso Soriano and Pat Burrell, three former sluggers, born within 11 months of each other, making $39.5 million combined, who are off to miserable starts on the heels of poor seasons last year. All of them are smack in the crosshairs of the two fastest-growing influences these days on how players are quickly devalued: age and lack of defensive skills.
Since signing a five-year, $91.5 million extension with the Cubs in 2007, Carlos Zambrano, 28, has thrown like a No. 3 starter and has been appreciably worse than he had been before the extension, pitching to a 4.07 ERA. Where is the growth?
Within three days last week, the Orioles, Indians and Blue Jays all drew the smallest crowds in the history of their current ballparks. It was a cold reminder that the halo effect of a beautiful new ballpark, like the smell of a new car, is not a lasting one.
BRAD MANGIN (ORTIZ)